Monthly Archives: September 2013

  1. H E Harris -America's Greatest Stamp Dealer

    Most of us grew up collecting stamps that were sent to us from the H. E. Harris company. Henry Harris founded his business in the 1920s and was a tireless promoter of philately. During the Great Depression, he sponsored radio shows and advertised extensively, introducing a generation of collectors to his approval method of buying stamps. Collectors signed up for Harris approvals, and stamp selections were sent to their homes for them to peruse and purchase what they wished. By the 1960s, Harris was still a huge approval dealer and was advertising extensively in Sunday newspaper comics sections and in youth magazines such as Boys Life. Harris had an extensive publishing arm, and most of you reading this
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  2. Pony Express and the Importance of Knowledgeable Stamp Dealers

    One of the more glamorous aspects of the old West was the Pony Express. Beginning for about eighteen months in 1860 the Pony Express raced letters across the American frontier from California to St. Joseph, MO where the letters entered the mail stream to their final destination. Their service was expensive, but it cut as much as two weeks off of coast to coast communication and was indispensable to business whose trading was time and event based. Much has been written about the Pony Express, and it is a fascinating story.

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  3. US #1's for Sale

    Much has been written on the first United States Postage Stamp. Most of the important modern information has been posted by Scott Trepel of the Siegal Auction Galleries, and it makes great reading.  While research on use of this stamp has been intense, what hasn't seen much print (pixels?) is the history of the collecting of the 5
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  4. World War I Prisoner of War History

    One of the more interesting WW I POW collections has come across my desk. I thought you would like to see it in its entirety.




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  5. Scott Classic Catalog

    About twenty years ago, the Scott publishing company began publishing annually their Specialized catalog of worldwide issues to 1940. Originally, this was merely excerpted from their regular five volume US and Worldwide edition, but as the years have gone by, the editors have constantly added additional content each year so that the Scott Specialized has become a pretty indispensable tool for serious philatelists. The value of the catalog is that it easily allows collectors to go beyond the traditional catalog listings in their collecting. For instance, for many countries, the Specialized catalog lists forerunners
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  6. Gandhi and Modern India

    Political and social scientists study stamp issues for clues to how governments view their history and evolution as societies. United States stamp issues are replete with historical themes and make much of our founders. Benjamin Franklin, because of his role as our first Postmaster, is on nearly a hundred different US stamp designs, and Washington, Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers are not much behind. The values that America was founded on
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  7. Why we Collect Stamps

    The desire to collect is innate and probably relates to the gatherer instinct that differs humans from other primates. But in a world in which one can collect everything from antique barbed wire to Victorian pocketbooks, why do people collect stamps? The answer I think comes down to three factors- community, size and orderliness.

     First, most stamp collectors were introduced to the hobby by a relative or friend and the feeling one has about philately gets infused with the feelings one has about the early sharing of your hobby with that important person in your life. Second, one can collect at a pretty high level over a period of years and yet store the entire collection on a couple of shelves. Some other hobbies have this advantage, but few have it as clearly as stamps. Most collectibles are far larger and harder to store than stamps. A philatelic collection of thousands can be kept in one album whereas a collection of a thousand horseshoes takes up a garage. This means

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  8. Prince George



    The bi
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  9. Our Family History and Mission Statement

    The first stamp dealing Apfelbaum was Maurice Apfelbaum who listed his occupation in the 1910 US census as "Stamp Dealer." He began dealing when his son Earl was only four years old, and by the time Earl was ten, he had begun collecting stamps and was going around to dealer shops and bourses with his father. Stamp collecting was different one hundred years ago than it is today. Most stamp business was done at bourses or in dealer shops, that is face to face, and little stamp business existed outside of major urban centers. Collectors in the country saved up for their annual visits to New York, Chicago, or Philadelphia where they would go to the many stamp shops there and purchase a years' worth of collectibles. Earl and his father continued dealing throughout the teens and twenties, but it was not yet a full time business; rather they dealt their duplicates and did a little trading as so many collectors did in those days
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  10. Danzig







    One of the most interesting philatelic areas is Danzig, now called Gedansk. Danzig is a city or rather city state on the shores of the Baltic Sea between Germany and Poland (which was long ruled by Russia) and part of its philatelic charm is in the many issues that were created as political control bounced back between various outside nations. For most of the early stamp period, Danzig was part of Germany and used German postage stamps-first the stamps of Prussia, of which it was a part, and then after 1871 and German unification, using the stamps of Germany. After 1920 and the Treaty of Versailles, Danzig was stripped from Germany and became a free city and as such issue
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  11. Hall of Fame

    Most organized activities have their Halls of Fame, patterned after Cooperstown, baseball's Hall of Fame. The American Philatelic Society, which has been the largest stamp collecting organization in the United States for over one hundred years, serves as the historical repository of philately in this country. The American Philatelic Research library is the largest useable philatelic library in the country and the APS not only offers valuable services to its members, but by studying what the APS has done and who they have honored, stamp collectors can get a pretty good idea about what and who were important in our hobby through the generations that stamps have been saved.

    The APS created its Hall of Fame in 1941 and the "founding class" represented the twelve philatelists deemed by that generation to have the most formulative role on our hobby. The list and the biographies are well worth reading and are as follows.  It is interesting how even serious stamp collecto

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  12. Early Great Philatelists


    A hobby is not an academic discipline. Books and articles are written about hobbies, and millions of people may be devotees, but the origins of the hobby and the contributions of the earliest adherents of the hobby are not often remembered in philately. But if it wasn't for the contributions of fewer than a dozen men, our hobby wouldn't have evolved into the serious discipline that it is today. It is these people who separate philately from button collecting. In the United States, no early philatelist had more impact on making stamp collecting a serious hobby than John N. Luff.
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